A neighborhood that has enjoyed stability has several areas that have been deteriorating in recent times; they comprise buildings having multiple families, and are located a short distance from residential areas in which property owners comprise the primary residents. People who do not own the properties located in the area comprise the non-residents. Records indicate that property owners have refused to maintain the prescribed standards relating to maintenance as well as overall outward appearance. The multiple violations of the established codes did not prompt the concerned parties to take the steps required in preventing condemnation from authorities and regulatory agencies.
The old practice entailed requiring a property owner to remit the fines imposed by the judicial arm of the environmental protection agency instead of making it mandatory to violators of the established codes to initiate property repairs. However, requiring violators to remit fines reflected a greater concern about short-term cash flows at the expense of ensuring that over the long-term, property values became stable and appreciated. The property blocks with serious violations registered a tremendous surge in calls for service from security agencies, which created suspicion about extensive trading on illicit drugs. Distribution centers seemed numerous in several blocks along the main avenue.
Despite the frequent calls the police received in relation to regular disturbances, it was not clear who coordinated the suspect dealings, neither was the knowledge of their physical location available. Overall, a neighborhood that was previously calm and orderly had mutated into a scene of disorder that resulted from lapses in control. The persons charged with maintaining order had failed to perform their obligations, creating a control vacuum that offered good grounds for potential offenders to thrive. In fact, the criminal elements who oversaw the deterioration in the state of order within the neighborhood masqueraded as the legally accepted tenants.
Community policing initiatives had yielded information that the police used to track the location of the problem; this formed the baseline of the initiatives that would comprise the restoration of order to the neighborhood and other surrounding areas. We must also consider how the initial actions can ultimately impede the effectiveness of later programs for securing the neighborhood and dismantling the cartel that has transformed it into a base for coordinating criminal activities. The basic strategy is to find a way of bringing disruptions to the flow of criminal activities traffic, most notably the drug trafficking networks.
Increasing the presence of the law enforcement agencies can create numerous opportunities for undertaking extensive surveillance and dialogue with the affected parties- the parties include residents of the neighborhood who have borne the brunt of the surge in crime and breakdown of social order. Surveillance and dialogue provide a way of increasing the agencies understanding of the criminal network operating within the abandoned residential premises. In addition, the preliminary activities should be supplemented with other investigative techniques, such as the live recording of videos detailing activities that occur during the night, when police resources are not deployed to the maximum extent possible.
Key milestones, as in previous operations and initiatives- include the acquisition of detailed maps depicting a variety of dwellings that supposedly offer a safe haven for the criminal network that has eluded the investigative agencies for a long period. The maps had information suggesting the identity of the dwellers of the properties located in the regions where crime activities had become prevalent, as well as their associates, and the roles they played in sustaining the vast network whose activities had contributed to the rapid deterioration in law and order in the previously tranquil neighborhood. Specific aspects of the collection of the maps showed that various dwellings in the southern section of the old apartments had provided the gang of drug dealers a base for coordinating unlawful activities.
Some properties had turned into centers of distribution, whereas others constituted safe havens into which the criminals retreated any time there was an offensive operation from the security agencies. The vast network of interconnected households therefore allows the drug dealers to conceal themselves and evade the police, factor that has reduced the effectiveness of police operations meant to flush out the criminal elements and restore order and a sense of sanity in the neighborhood. Community policing principles call for the involvement of all relevant stakeholders in major security situations, which made it imperative for the police team to organize a meeting of all persons owning property on the block from which the drug dealing networking was coordinating operations.
The meetings primary goal was to provide the property owners with an appraisal of the security problems within the neighborhood and encourage them to cooperate with the security agencies in the best way they could. To ensure that the police could corroborate the accounts provided by the property owners attending the meeting, a database of addresses was built up from tax register of the properties in and around the neighborhood. Despite the best efforts of the police team to encourage attendance, the attendance turned out to be poor, something that could be attributed to a large number of absentee property owners.
The few owners of the properties used by the criminal network were not fully cooperative, which created unforeseen hurdles to the initial plans. Fortunately, the police team managed to build adequate evidence that would necessitate the granting of a warrant of extensive search from the concerned judicial parties. While it may seem that the subsequent search was not effective in supporting the entire operation, the search resulted in perceptions among residents and the criminals that the police was determined to flush out all suspected criminal activities. This perception would provide an incentive for the drug dealers to relocate or cease their operations altogether.
Subsequent analyzes have suggested that there was a significant increase in the calls directed to the address the police created to support the offensive operation; however, this figure declined tremendously afterwards after the operation had commenced. The calls from areas surrounding the block suggest a pervasive displacement problem that most likely resulted from a change in the operations of the criminal network. The network, having realized that the security agencies were edging closer, had no option but to start tactical maneuvers. The initial prognosis can also account for the initial reaction to the operation and the ripple effects in the entire neighborhood. The leader of the police team that oversaw the operation speculated that the loss of the blocks reputation as a market for illicit drugs would constitute a necessary condition for the mitigation of the attendant problems. Otherwise, clients were still motivated to visit the block for drug supplies, while suppliers would find that the value of the lucrative demand was worth the risk of meeting it. It is equally important to note that the shift in the focus of the trade to a separate location made the drug dealers think that there were numerous opportunities to evade the police and frustrate the offensive operation. The landlord of the problematic block also contributes to the problem by neglecting his legal responsibilities. The laxity of landlords in controlling certain properties implies that there would not be adequate information to facilitate the planning of the offensive operation and manage its subsequent impact. The legal framework for instilling responsibility in property owners was also a contributing factor. The procedures applied by the environmental adjudication court were unnecessarily lengthy and taxing considering how it enabled a property owner to obtain a stay of the orders requiring them to execute their liabilities under the property code. In the prevailing circumstances, it is only possible to expedite initiatives by cooperating with the local government departments charged with the responsibility of adjudicating problems arising within the neighborhood. There is however little guarantee that the local government arms will agree to the necessary concessions required to effect pertinent changes; some instances require the surrender of critical operating assets, which means the local government will fail to meet its revenue collection targets.
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